History and Background of This Division
This division has a root in the DDS Research Division established in the Research Institutes for Science and Technology, Tokyo University of Science in 2003. In “Fusion of Regenerative Medicine with DDS Division” started from 2015, researchers headed by Professor Kimiko Makino have conducted collaborative researches focusing on regenerative medicine and the development of DDS for intractable diseases. To continue these activities, a predecessor round-table conference on Superior Cells and DDS Development for Regenerative Medicine was founded on 2020, which has been re-established as a division in April 2021.
Research Purposes and Goals of This Division
Under the overall goal of accelerating regenerative medicine, this division is focusing on (1) the development of “superior cells” by functionalizing the cells administered to patients for therapeutic purposes, and (2) the development of DDS that can precisely manipulate the in vivo distribution of cells and other functional molecules. The research purposes also include the development of therapeutic modalities against respiratory, brain, immune, cancer, and bone diseases.
Members and Their Roles in This Division
The four groups below cooperate with one another to accelerate the group research.
(1) Superior cell/DDS development group
This group designs and constructs superior cells, and develops DDS aiming at controlling the function and in vivo distribution of cells and other functional bioactive molecules. A goal is to develop “superior cells” that super-exceed the existing cells in terms of cellular functions through (1) the addition of novel functions, (2) the development of multicellular spheroids/organoids, and (3) the use of exosomes and other extracellular vesicles. In addition, various delivery systems developed are applied to the superior cells and their usefulness is examined in animal models.
(2) Cell function regulation system development group
This group creates novel compounds that regulate cellular functions, and functional materials that can be used in regenerative medicine and cell-based therapy. These compounds and materials are supplied to other groups for applications and analysis. The data obtained using them are used for the development of more functional compounds/materials.
(3) Physical property control/analysis group
This group evaluates the physical properties of the items developed by the superior cell/DDS development group and the cell function regulation system development group, including superior cells, delivery systems, and functional compounds/materials. This group supports the optimization of these items by data feedback to the corresponding groups.
(4) Cell/tissue regeneration group
This group investigates the mechanisms of the regeneration of the lung, bone and other tissues, and treat the diseases of these tissues/organs. The interaction of superior cells/DDS and the immune systems is also analyzed.
Figure 1 summarizes the members and roles of each group. This division develops superior cells and DDS regenerative medicine by constructing organic interrelationships among the members of the division in pursuit of a new-stage collaboration.
Figure 1. Members and roles of each group.
Future Development Goals
To create a novel and unique research field focusing on “superior cells” by collaboration of researchers with a variety of expertise.
Cell-based therapy can be greatly accelerated by applying the concept of drug delivery system (DDS), i.e., drug delivery at the right time, at the right site of action, and in the right amount, to cells that are administered for disease treatment. This division aims at developing “superior cells” whose functions are extremely upregulated and DDS that improves their functions.